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Container technologies: NetEnrich study reveals channel opportunity

Research from NetEnrich highlighted how service providers can play a role in container technologies; more IT channel news from the week.

Is the channel ready for container technologies?

According to Chris Joseph, vice president of product management and marketing at NetEnrich Inc., the jury is still out. However, a recent survey of 200 U.S.-based IT professionals published this week by NetEnrich, an IT infrastructure and operations management services provider based in San Jose, Calif., revealed customers are quickly adopting the technology. Additionally, while respondents said they have experienced the benefits of using containers, many also cited challenges, which pose an opportunity for service providers.

The NetEnrich study found 70% of the respondents are using containers today, while 21% said they plan to deploy containers. Among the primary benefits was the improved flexibility containers offer for IT infrastructure, cited by 63% of respondents. This was followed by overall IT cost savings, cited by 53%. Forty-six percent of respondents indicated they expect to save up to 30% in annual IT costs through container use, thanks to its efficiencies. Other top benefits included improved speed and productivity for developers releasing code and responsiveness to business needs.

As for the challenges, the top struggles respondents highlighted were issues relating to integration, security and container management. Additionally, IT professionals cited a lack of internal skill sets for container technologies. Sixty-six percent of respondents said learning to use containers was moderately challenging, while 21% called it a highly challenging learning curve. To help address these hurdles, 58% of the IT professionals surveyed have turned to third-party management tools and services.

Chris Joseph, vice president of product management and marketing, NetEnrichChris Joseph

While customers lack the internal skill sets for container technologies, many channel firms are not yet poised to step in and help, Joseph said. "It's new, from a channel perspective. ... A lot of the things that are going on in the cloud today with the channel is just basic IaaS [infrastructure as a service] and PaaS [platform as a service] -- the 'lift and shift' of a workload and application workload onto the cloud, or maybe a little bit of [code refactoring], if you want to go directly to the PaaS layer."

Joseph said he believes, with time and focus, service providers can play more of a role. "I think [customer] skill sets, resources ... are always a tough one," Joseph said. "When you look at a service provider stepping in to do that, I think there's an opportunity there. ... But the thing is, how do you package these skills? I think it's there; it will take a while to mature."

CSP Boss an onramp to direct cloud reseller model

Autotask Corp. has launched CSP Boss, an offering that automates the delivery of cloud services under Microsoft's Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program.

CSP Boss automates the management, billing and support of cloud services, such as Office 365, Azure and SharePoint. The offering, geared to Autotask professional service automation customers, integrates with Autotask contracts, billing and reporting processes.

Autotask's CSP Boss aims to help service providers become direct cloud resellers.

"Many partners have not been able to be direct Microsoft resellers," even with Microsoft's CSP model, said Patrick Burns, vice president of product management at Autotask, based in New York.

Burns said partners have been hesitant to move in that direction due to some of the CSP program's operational requirements and the operational cost of taking on those responsibilities. CSP Boss, however, provides automation that removes operational costs, allowing margin to accrue to the reseller, Burns noted.

According to Autotask, partners using CSP Boss can secure 15% to 25% margins -- depending on the product -- through a direct sales model.

Autotask partnered with Microsoft's CSP initiative and MessageOps in creating CSP Boss. MessageOps, the cloud business unit of Champion Solutions Group, is an Autotask partner and a Microsoft cloud services reseller, Burns said.

IT channel news roundup for the week of July 18

Here's a look at the highlights:

  • CompTIA's IT Industry Business Confidence Index, which measures IT executives' opinions on the U.S. economy, dropped for the second consecutive quarter. The third-quarter index dropped 1.4 points to 61.7 on a 100-point scale. CompTIA's second-quarter index fell by 0.9 points. The latest economic reading is based on a survey of 257 U.S. technology companies. CompTIA, however, pointed out the index has "recorded a negative reading in Q3 every year since its debut in 2009." CompTIA cited a summer business slowdown among small IT companies as a contributing factor to third-quarter sentiment.
  • SUSE, an enterprise Linux and OpenStack cloud software provider, rolled out a program that lets SUSE subscription resellers host the company's products for their customers. The SUSE Reseller Hosting program builds upon the company's existing reseller program, in which SUSE partners resell subscriptions for use in customers' on-premises data centers. The new hosting program offers resellers the ability to provide managed services around SUSE's cloud offerings, according to SUSE. SUSE's hosting program offers resellers a "way to realize new recurring revenue streams by extending their suite of offerings through managed hosting," according to the company.
  • Distributor Avnet Inc. released its Mobility Solutions Framework featuring EMC's VCE VxRail Appliance and Microsoft's Enterprise Mobility Suite. Targeting the midmarket, the new framework connects cloud, public cloud and mobile device abilities. EMC partners can use the framework to align customers' business goals and requirements with Avnet's Mobility Solutions Catalog.
  • Cirrity LLC, a cloud solutions provider, expanded its portfolio of Cisco Powered services with vStream Recover, a new disaster recovery as a service offering. Cirrity is certified as a Master Service Provider in Cisco's Cloud and Managed Services Program.
  • Distributor Tech Data named Bob Kruger as its vice president of its StreamOne, the platform behind its Cloud Solutions Store. In his new role, Kruger will oversee the development of the cloud marketplace and integration technologies. Kruger most recently served as CEO of Apakau, a distributed denial-of-service attack prevention startup.
  • IT management platform company Continuum added the former CEO of mindSHIFT Technologies, Paul Chisholm, to its board of directors. Chisholm is slated to deliver the closing keynote address at the company's Navigate 2016 conference to be held Sept. 28 to 30 in Boston.

The Market Share is a news roundup published on SearchITChannel every Friday.

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